Long perceived as a frontrunner candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, former vice president Joe Biden appeared to be ramping up campaign events in Iowa ahead of the February 2019 caucuses in Iowa. Instead of focusing on progressive news, such as impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, Biden’s campaign planned to run advertisements on the middle-class values Biden has.
One of the ads, entitled, “Scranton Values,” discussed Biden’s values growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a blue-collar city in central Pennsylvania, which intended to appeal to the middle-class and blue-collar voters in Iowa. Another ad, called, “What I See,” reiterated Biden’s support for union workers and how many have been forgotten in politics and appeared to be similar to Trump’s 2016 messaging.
While other candidates focus on Medicare for All, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Biden’s ads were a gamble in order to appeal to the middle-class and blue-collar moderate voters instead of the progressive wing of the party.
The mainstream media has harped for weeks of the Biden campaign’s faltering fundraising figures, which were an indicator of Biden failing to create or sustain momentum heading into the first primary of the nomination race. NBC News pointed out that Biden held four events in Iowa in October while holding thirteen fundraisers to boost his campaign.
However, despite the media’s narrative, Biden’s messaging could resonate in the general election. Primary elections typically focus on appealing to the base of a party, such as conservatives for Republicans and liberals or progressives for Democrats. With other candidates attempted to endear themselves to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, Biden could seize the independent, middle-class and blue-collar voting base that his opponents ignored.
With all the media’s attention on fundraising numbers, which tell a part of the story in elections, the media forgot why Trump won the 2016 election: by appealing to the middle-class and moderate voter who felt ignored by politicians in Washington, D.C. Biden’s opponents appear to be repeating the same problems that then-candidate Hillary Clinton made by ignoring the concerns of the middle-class, while Biden emphasized his ties to the American middle-class voter.